Why Ticket Scalpers Deserve a Special Place in Hell

scalpers

verb (used with object)

6.

to cut or tear the scalp from.

7.

Informal.

a.

to resell (tickets, merchandise, etc.) at higher than the official rates.

b.

to buy and sell (stocks) so as to make small quick profits.

 

Scalpers. They’ve been around for far too long.  It used to be they’d place ads in newspapers or magazines, or they’d walk around before shows and try and get to people who hadn’t been able to get tickets to the event.  According to Wikipedia, in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, they ventured online and began the practice of “ticket brokering,” and they’ve been “hard at work” ever since. As soon as tickets became available online, they have tons of people ready to buy them up at face value.  They then turn to sites such as stubhub.com and ebay.com to sell them at a huge mark up. 

For example:  I bought tickets to see Fun. at the Greek Theater.  I was able to get presale tickets, and I got 2 tickets for just under $122.00.  2 tickets in roughly the same area are now on ebay.com for $324.  That is almost a 200% markup!  I also have tickets to go see New Kids on the Block.  I paid about $113 per ticket, and sold 1 to the friend going with me at face value.  Someone now has tickets in the same area on sale on ebay.com for $216 EACH. Again, almost a 200% markup. Finally, I also got Darren Criss tickets on presale this week at $36 each. On stubhub.com, they are starting at $104! That is about 3 times more than I paid.

The frustrating thing is that places who sell the tickets in the first place, like Ticketmaster and Live Nation, are not really doing anything to try to prevent large numbers of tickets from being bought up by these “ticket brokers.”  Even though they may set a ticket limit, which is ridiculously easy to get around.  Regular folks, who just want to buy 1, 2, or maybe 3 tickets, find themselves unable to get them at face value and unable to afford to buy them anywhere else. 

Another thing that works against the average concert goer is that tickets often go on sale at 10am.  This is sometimes done during the week, when many people are at work and not free to conduct personal affairs.  They find themselves quickly and figuratively screwed in terms of getting tickets to see their favorite performer(s).

It’s a sad situation, and honestly, as long as there is supply and demand, and the loopholes exist, scalpers will continue to make their astronomical profits.

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My Non Adventures in Wonderland….or how it was impossible to get Darren Criss “Meet and Greet” tickets

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This week, Glee’s Darren Criss announced he was going to be going on tour this summer.  Amazing?  You bet!  I saw him a few years ago, but I had not started watching Glee yet, so I did not fully appreciate his talent.  This time, however, I WILL!

I was apparently lucky enough to get presale tickets on Wednesday by downloading the Live Nation app.  I secured 2 tickets for myself and my friend, Sara!  It was when I tried to get meet and greet tickets through www.adventuresinwonderland.com that my misery began.

I tried to get them when they first went on sale, but to know the details on when and how, you had to be on a special mailing list.  I was not.  I was out of luck…or so I thought.  Then, I found out that they’d be putting more on sale this morning when the public ticket sales began. Perfect. This time, I would be prepared. 

Last night, I set my alarm for a little before 10, which is when they posted it would be.

When I got up, Adventures in Wonderland had tweeted the tickets would be on sale at 2EST or 11PST.  Okay, no problem.  I would have some breakfast first, and then I’d be good to go!  Or, so I thought.

With a few minutes to go before 11am, I logged back on both on my computer and cell phone  The site had already begun having issues, which was not a good sign.  I kept refreshing the main page, with only some success.  Half the time, I get an error message.  It also was still saying that the meet and greet tickets were “Coming Soon.”  A few minutes after 11am, they tweeted a link to get the tickets. Okay….I went to the link, and they all said “Sold Out.”…seconds after the link was posted.  WHAT?!  I refreshed…again getting error messages.  Finally, it said “buy now.”  Cool.  I click.  I get kicked off some more, right before putting it in the shopping cart.  Grrr. Right then, they tweeted that all were now sold out. 

It is not a good business practice to take on something like selling popular tickets if your website cannot handle the traffic. The server being used needs to be able to handle heavy traffic without crapping out.  Darren Criss has been popular since before Glee, thanks to his collaboration with Starkids on the Harry Potter musical spoofs.  Obviously, there was going to be a huge demand for his first major tour since starting Glee.

Thus far, I have not heard of a single person on Twitter and Facebook who were able to get meet and greet tickets today.  Everyone has been posting the same issues as I experienced. Some even got to put the meet and greet tickets in their shopping carts, only to get kicked off the site. When they got back on, it was sold out.

Hopefully, either Adventures in Wonderland or Darren Criss’s management will do something so that the fans who made every effort to get the meet and greet tickets will have the opportunity to meet Darren.  I saw stories of people who are planning on traveling some distance for the shows, and it’d be nice if they could purchase this extra experience.

Update: I spoke with Karen from Adventures in Wonderland this morning. They do seem to be making a honest effort to speak with people who had problems yesterday. She explained that no one, including Darren Criss, expected the demand to be this high. If you look at his Twitter feed, you CAN see that he seemed genuinely surprised that things were selling out so fast. She also said that they had approximately 6,500 clicks a second (which is about 390,000 per minute), and that this did cause difficultly on the site. They aren’t Ticketmaster, and don’t necessarily have the capability of handling that traffic. She also informed me that each show had under 100 meet and greet packages available so that each person could have time with Darren Criss. She said that the waitlist was legitimate, and that if anything opened up, people would be contacted. All in all, it does seem as though they are trying to handle things the best way that they can. Hopefully, the company will learn and grow from this experience!

If I knew then what I know now….

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Sometimes, I wish I could go back to high school.  However, I realize that I would ONLY ever want to do that if I knew then what I know now!  There are a lot of life lessons that we (hopefully) learn as we get older.  These are some of the ones I would want to be able to have if I ever pulled a reverse “13 Going on 30” and got to be young again.

  1. Be yourself!  If you a kooky person, go with it!  If you like being smart, you get yourself some straight A’s!  If you’re a tomboy, then go out there and get dirty!  You’re totally in to nerdy sci-fi?  Find others who are, too.  Face it:  some people are going to love you, some people will be ambivalent, and others will genuinely dislike you.  And that is 100% okay.  The only thing you really need to do, as Polonius says in Hamlet, “To thine own self be true.”  Oh, and be a good person.  That’s always a given.
  2. Don’t worry about what others are thinking about you.  This goes hand in hand with #1.  Again, throughout your whole life people are going to both love and hate you.  A lot of times, there’s nothing you can really do about it.  Personalities sometimes clash, and that’s just the way life goes.  There are some people I don’t care for, and it’s not necessarily because they are horrible people.  It’s often just their personalities, interests, etc don’t match very well with mine.  I’m sure they have many people in their lives who adore them, as I have in mine.  Just content yourself with the people who find you completely fabulous, and don’t worry about the ones who don’t!
  3. Read the signals of people around you!  I have realized over time that a lot of interpersonal problems during my younger years could have possibly been prevented by just paying attention to signals people were sending.  Now that I’m older, I realize that a lot of younger people (and even older people), aren’t always good at that.  It’s easy to tell when someone’s in the mood to be asked a favor if you look at his/her demeanor.  Knowing whether someone needs you to just shush and listen to him/her vent isn’t hard if you are focusing on their non-verbal cues.  Understanding who is cool with you being completely bizarre and who may not be quite able to handle it requires reading the signals, too. 
  4. Have fun!  Now that I’m almost 32, I realize that you really do need to set aside time for fun.  I look back on high school, and I wish I had taken advantage of being young and relatively free of responsibilities.  Sure, I am proud of the fact that I graduated with honors and won scholarships, but I know there are probably experiences I missed out on.  However, I made up for it in college, so it’s all good.  At any rate, enjoy the fact that you are young and free to enjoy yourself.  Eventually, work and other responsibilities will have to come first.

My Favorite YA Lit Series

For those who don’t know, Young Adult Literature (or YA Lit) has undergone a major Renaissance over the past decade.  When I was growing up, there really weren’t many series to choose from (there was Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley, Goosebumps, and Fear Street), and those series really didn’t take into account how savvy teens can be, and they didn’t realize that many adults could and would find YA Lit entertaining.  However, when JK Rowling started producing books for the Harry Potter series, all of a sudden, it seemed as those authors started realizing that this was a potentially huge untapped market!  It dawned on them that teens WOULD read, if they were given something engaging.  Therefore, I wanted to dedicate this blog to some of my favorite YA Lit series!

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

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Set in modern day New York, the Mortal Instruments series is about the Shadowhunters.  They are the decedents of Angels, and their mission is to fight the demons and rogue Downworlders (vampires, werewolves, warlocks, etc) that threaten the mundane (human) world.  Clary Fray had no idea she was one of them until one night she witnesses three of them, Jace Wayland, Isabelle Lightwood, and Alec Lightwood, dispatching of some demons at a local nightclub.  From there, she is thrust into their often violent world.  She must learn how to fight demons if she is to help protect the world from her own father, Valentine Morgenstern.  She also finds herself falling for Jace—a boy with the face of an Angel, but a tendency towards snarky sarcasm.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordonpercy jackson

As anyone who ever studied Greek Mythology in school knows, the Greek Gods and Goddess loved to have dalliances with mortals.  The resulting offspring were called demi-gods, or half Gods.  Percy Jackson believes himself to be typical teenager, except for the fact that he suffers from ADHD and dyslexia.  He finds out, however, that he is anything but normal.  He is a son of Poseidon, the God of the Sea.  His so-called “disabilities” are really innate battle reflexes and a brain more suited for reading Ancient Greek.  He is soon whisked away to Camp Half Blood to be protected and trained to be a hero.  He finds himself up against Kronos, who desperately wants his powers back.  He also discovers Annabeth, a daughter of Athena, who he grows to love so much he will follow anywhere—even into Tartarus. 

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

>harry potter

Most people are familiar with the series; if you have not read them, you are probably at least acquainted with the film adaptations.  Harry Potter was orphaned as a young boy and raised by his horrible Aunt and Uncle.  When he turns 11, however, everything changes.  He becomes aware of the fact that he is a wizard with magical abilities.  Throughout the course of the series, he discovers that he is not just ANY wizard; he is the boy who lived.  He is the only one to survive an attack by the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort.  As a result, he is the only one with the power to defeat him and prevent him from destroying the world as everyone knows it.  Along with his friends Ron and Hermoine, he sets out to do just that, even though it will mean great sacrifice.

The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

hunger games<

The Hunger Games trilogy of books is just one of many dystopian series that have come out in the last several years.  North America as we know it is gone—destroyed by natural disaster, war, etc.  As a result of an uprising against the Capital over 70 years before, every year the 12 Districts must send 1 girl and 1 boy between the ages of 12-18 to participate in The Hunger Games.  The Hunger Games is a battle until the death—until there is only 1 victor.  The victor receives a lifetime supply of food, a new home, and everything else they or their family could ever need.  Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take the place of her younger sister, Prim, in the 74th Hunger Games because she knows her knowledge of hunting and skill with the bow and arrow will give her a better chance of survival.  Her refusal to capitulate to the Capital turns her into the Mockingjay, a symbol of the rebellion the people of Panem are planning in order to regain their freedom.  In the midst of all of this, she must also decide who will have her heart—Gale, her childhood friend, or Peeta, her fellow Hunger Games tribute.

The Divergent series by Veronica Roth

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The Divergent series also falls into the category of dystopian literature.  In a post –apocalyptic, everyone belongs to 1 faction:  Abnegation, which focuses on charity; Candor, which focuses on honesty; Erudite, which focuses on intelligence; Amity, which focuses on peace; and Dauntless, which focuses on bravery.  When someone turns 16, they are given an aptitude test which tells them which faction they are best suited for.  They may either remain with their own, or change.  However, if they change factions, they must give up all ties to family because “Faction First.”  Beatrice “Tris” Prior discovers during her aptitude test that her own faction, Abnegation, may not be her only choice.  Actually, she shows an almost equal aptitude for most of the factions.  She chooses Dauntless, and finds herself in a world as different from Abnegation as one can get.  She also meets Four, a boy who both intrigues and somewhat intimidates her (at least at first). She also discovers she may be Divergent, which is a dangerous thing to be in a society that likes people to focus on one virtue—to the exclusion of all others.

Good Fashion is a Good Idea

As I’ve written before, I did not used to care very much about clothes.  They tended to be more of a utilitarian thing for me.  However, as I got to be in my late 20’s and early 30’s, I realized that there’s more to clothes than just something you throw onto your body:  they are a tool.  A tool that can serve a variety of different purposes. 

1)       They can increase confidence:  If there’s a part of your body that you don’t particularly love (I’m talking to you, stomach!), clothes can be used to downplay that problem area.  For example, if you tend to carry your weight in your midsection, you can wear something that emphasizes the smallest part of you: Your waist.  All of a sudden, that area isn’t such a problem anymore. 

 

Also, when you put on an outfit you know is well put together, it just helps you face the day feeling that much more confident about tackling everything ahead of you.

 

2)      It can help you express yourself:  I am a creative person, but I’m not particularly good at artwork.  My clothes (and makeup) have become a way for me to express myself creatively.  The clothes that I chose help show people the kind of “eye” that I have for color, texture, pattern, and shine. It can show the world that I know what colors will look interesting together.  

 

Also, I have a bit of a thing for things with a retro vibe, and many of my outfits reflect that interest.  It helps people learn a little something about me via non-verbal communication.

 

3)      It can help you get what you want, and what you need:  I have been a teacher for eight years.  As I have started taking more pains with my appearance, I have noticed my classroom management problems decreasing (decreasing….not vanished).  The students take me more seriously because I am showing that I take pride in myself.  Hopefully, my bosses see that I take my job seriously because I take the time and effort to dress for it.  I don’t just come in to work in yoga pants and a t-shirt because that screams I don’t care! 

 

Oh, and yes, occasionally, I’ve been known to go out and have some fun, and I’ll admit:  getting service at a bar is a lot easier for a woman in a cute or sexy dress! 

Why I Love to Hate Reality T.V.

ImageI admit it:  I tend to keep up with the Kardashians.  I despise what they stand for, but I can’t help myself.  I occasionally follow Dog and Beth as they go about Bounty Hunting people in Hawaii (and now across the country).  At the same time, I’m thinking he’s kind of an ignorant red neck.  Thanks to Operation Repo, I now know the average number of months you can be behind in your car payments before having it reposed (FYI, it’s 2-3).  Hardcore Pawn and Pawn Stars?  I am so there.  However, every time I watch these shows, I hate myself a little more.  This begs the question:  why have television viewers made reality television such a huge money maker?

I hate myself because I know deep down that it’s a waste of time.  I know that it’s slowly killing my brain cells.  I tell myself I should be reading a good book instead, and yet, here’s Kourtney and Kim Take Miami on E! again!  Why not watch Scott being a complete jerk; it’s hilarious!  Now, here’s Hardcore Pawn!  I hope that someone gets kicked out of the store for being utterly unreasonable.

Let’s face it, Reality T.V. makes us feel better about ourselves.  When we watch things like the Kardashian shows (which air almost non-stop on E!), it makes us think to ourselves Hey, at least I have a skill set.  At least I’m not famous for nothing!  When we see the criminals on Dog, The Bounty Hunter and the deadbeats on Operation Repo we enjoy a feeling of superiority because at least our lives aren’t THAT pathetic.  I made my car payment a couple weeks ago, so I have the right to sit in judgment!  I’m not getting thrown in jail, and you are! 

Also, we currently live in a society that makes us feel out of the loop if we don’t know the sex of Kim Kardashian’s baby the day it’s announced (It hasn’t been announced yet, right?  I’m not behind on my 24 hour news cycle, right?!).  People have started to feel like we have a right to know what’s going on in the private lives of others.  Even if you try and actively avoid engaging in this gossip, it’s hard.  If you just go to Yahoo! to do a quick search, you’re inundated with all the nonsense.

However, what do these things say about us?  Why should we need to watch the train wreak lives of the people on Hoarders:  Buried Alive?  Why do we need that to make us feel better about ourselves?  Why do we need to know which celebrity is dating which other celebrity?   We sit in judgment of Reality T.V., but many of us still don’t turn it off.  We, the viewers, are contributing to these people’s awful behavior because we are giving them an audience for it.  We’ve made it so that people can get famous for nothing, or for being a horrible human being. 

The fact of the matter is, unless we stop watching, they won’t stop filming:  It’s the law of supply and demand.

Why Reading, Writing, and Grammar MATTER!

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First of all, I had better make sure that there are NO mistakes in this blog post!  Note to self.

I grew up in a family who loved reading.  Any apartment we ever lived in was full of books we either owned or had checked out from the local library.  As I have mentioned in a previous blog, every summer my parents would sign my brother and me up for the Summer Reading program at the library.  Anytime I would get birthday or Christmas money, I would immediately want to go to the bookstore and stock up on Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High books. 

Thanks to my love of reading, I developed a relatively advanced vocabulary at a young age. I remember people in school asking me why I used such huge words, and mine was a high achieving high school! It also encouraged me to want to be a writer myself, and so I have written poems, songs, blogs and short stories over the years—not to mention countless essays for school.  So….many….essays.

As a result, I (shockingly) became an English Education major when I went to college. I learned even more about reading deeply (as in, reading to derive a deeper meaning than the basic plot), grammar, and writing coherently.  I then went on to teach high school English, which is what I have been doing for the past (almost) 8 years.  Since becoming a teacher, I have heard the following numerous times:

“Reading is boring!”

“Why are you using such big words?”

“Why do we have to know how to write?”

“Grammar is boring!”

“We don’t need to know this.”

That last one always gets me.  Everyone DOES need to know how to read and really get at the essential meaning of the story or information.  That is just a necessary life skill.  People do need to how to communicate their thoughts using proper grammar, sentence structure, spelling, etc.  Why?  Well, you are never going to get that job you want if your resume has multiple grammar errors.  Ergo, you will not be earning that salary you need in order to pay your bills and put food on the table. That person you’re trying to impress will never take you seriously if your speech is consistently peppered with slang and inappropriate language.  The concept you’re trying to describe is going to lose something in the translation if you do not have an expansive vocabulary at your disposal.

In other words, you are going to look like an idiot.

And that, dear readers, is why reading, grammar, and writing do matter. 

Remember, In life, not everything is 140 words like it is on Twitter.